A Travellerspoint blog

India October 7th - 22nd

sunny 40 °C

October 7- Pushka
Today was a little more relaxed we got a bus to Pushka and went for a dip in the hotel pool. We then went on a walking tour of Pushka's temples and browsed the local bazaars. We ended the day with dinner by Pushka's lake, which was beautiful.

October 8- Pushka
We got up at 5:30 this morning and hiked to the top of a mountain to watch the sun rise over Pushka. The hike was a little harder at this hour, but really worth it as the sunrise was breath taking. Once at the top we looked around the temple and spent some time enjoying the view. Later in the day while wondering the bazaars i bought a garnet ring and necklace for a lot less than they would cost in the UK. In the evening we went on a sunset camel ride, it was SO much fun. It turns out that i'm a natural at camel riding. After the camel riding we had a local dinner and watched some indian gypsy dancing. Tonight was the most fun i have had yet!

October 9- Pushka
Today we had a five and a half hour local train ride, what an experience! First we had to fight for our prepaid seats, then some of our group had to stand for a few hours anyway. The train was packed, there were three people in one seat, people standing everywhere and even a man sleeping in the luggage holder above the seats. The locals also crossed the platforms by climbing onto the tracks! The whole experience way mayhem! It was great to see how the locals travel! Things like this are great to see as you feel like your experiencing real indian culture.

October 10- Udiapur
Our time in Udiapur started with an orientation walk of the local area. We went to Udiapur City Palace sight seeing then got a cable car to the highest point in Udiapur to watch the sunset. This is the best sunset i have seen yet, although there are a lot more to see! We then went to a local talhi restaurant, indian food is so rich! Talhi is around seven small dishes and some nan bread etc. The waiters refill the dish as soon as you have finished it. Its sort of like indian fast food and so filling!

October 11- Udiapur
Today we got a boat to the island in the middle of Udiapur lake. I have lots of pictures, you can stay there as its also a hotel. We then went to an Indian cooking lesson, which was great fun. We learnt how to cook a few dishes and made ourselves dinner, it was actually one of my favourite meals. I've kept the recipes for when i get home!

October 12- Ranakpur
We had a two hour jeep ride to Ranakpur today. Ranakpur is a rural village, we were slowed down a little on the way to our hotel because there were several sheppard's with hundreds of sheep on the road. Our hotel was situated deep in the mountains, we had log cabins and there was no internet/phone signal and only electricity for a few hours a day. However the pool was beautiful, it was surrounded by mountains and nothing else. Once settled we went to Chaumukha Mandir, a four faced temple dedicated to Adinath and built in 1439. The temple was amazing, far better than the Taj Mahal!! There are 1444 pillars all hand carved from marble (as the rest of the temple). We also ate some local talhi which cost about 5p and was all you can eat. Every time you finish a mouthful someone is offering you more food!

October 13- Ranakpur
This morning we went for a hike and visited some locals houses. By houses i mean huts with one room that is used to sleep, eat, wash, prepare food etc in. In this one room a whole family would live. The locals showed us how to make flour and butter. When then walked to the nearest water supply, which is a well with cups chained together (bit hard to explain, hopefully i have been able to upload the picture). We then went to a local school and gave out pens, sweets etc. The children were almost fighting to get a pen, its very strange how much one pen was worth to them, as most of us have loads just laying around the house. Later in the day we took an overnight sleeper train to Mumbai. This was my first over night sleeper train! There are six (bunk) beds in each section (no doors). They provide sheets and a pillow. The mattresses are only a couple of inches thick and rock hard, so as you can imagine it was impossible to sleep!

October 14- Mumbai
Our overnight train arrived in Mumbai this morning. When in our taxi to the hotel we drove through the slums of Mumbai, and all i can say is that I've never seen anything like it! There were mounds of rubbish bigger than buildings and people just living in tents/shacks next to them. There were people sleeping on pavements, in doorways, walkways, in parks etc, homeless people everywhere. In the slums there was dirt, poo, fires, fumes, sick, rubbish etc everywhere. The smell was horrendous and there was far too many people living there. I even saw a European man living in the slums alongside the Indian people, it made me wonder how he could have ended up there...surely nobody would choose to live that way?
Once we had checked into our hotel we had some free time to wonder Mumbai and see the city. We went for a short walk with our tour guide, then got lost and had to ask for directions in an information office. Two sons of the information guide showed us where the nearest coffee shop was (necessity obviously) then asked us out on a date! Turns out indian men love white skinned girls! We had to decline...obviously, but it was pretty funny. We visited the famous Victoria station, it was mayhem. While looking for a beauty salon we asked a local college girl for directions, she offered to show us the way. First she took us into a very poor run down area to a local woman's house and said that it was a beauty salon. I think she could tell from the look on Toni and my faces that this wasn't what we had in mind. The 'salon'/house didn't even have any furniture and was filthy but seemed to be popular with the locals. Instead our new 'tour guide' took us five minuets walk away to another salon which was gated and had security guards and only french imported treatments. It was amazing to see the difference of culture within a five minuet walk. It was a perfect example of classes in India, there are the very rich and the poor, no middle class. We then watched the sunset on the beach, which sounds better than it was! There were huge sky scrapers in the distance and you could literally see the pollution in the sky. You can look out to sea and see where the pollution stops. It was very shocking to be able to look up and see pollution around you. I got some great photos of this.

October 15- Mumbai
This morning we went to the indian post office in Mumbai. Before sending parcels home we had to get a local man to wrap them in cloth and stitch them up. Luckily posting from India is very cheap.
Today we flew from Mumbai to Goa, it took approx 1 hour. Once checked into our hotel in Goa we went into Baga for dinner. I had fresh
Tuna with Vindaloo sauce. Vindaloo is a Goan dish and was very tasty!

October 16- South Goa
We spent most of today relaxing on the beach because our tour had come to an end. As it is just before peak season there are very few tourists in Goa. Therefore all the women selling things on the beach wouldn't leave us alone, very annoying. We decided to splash out and go parasailing, which cost £4. It was so much fun, although we were only up in the air for about 10 mins. Later in the evening we had a farewell dinner and some very nice sea food.

October 17- North Goa
Today was a little more relaxed, I had my first lay in since leaving England! Toni, Emma (from our tour) and me got a taxi to Anjuna in north Goa today. Anjuna is far more relaxed and friendly in comparison to Calagaute and Baga, which are a bit like Blackpool. We relaxed around the pool, wondered the Bazaars and watched the sunset in a local beach bar...bliss. In the evening we walked along the beach to find a restaurant, the stars were out and all we could hear were the waves crashing. We found a restaurant on the beach which sold seafood caught that day and Mango cocktails (that were made with fresh mangos). I ate Goan shark, which was out of this world. I really like Goa everything is so relaxed and peaceful. Walking along the beach at night was perfect! Exactly what we all needed after such a busy and exhausting tour.

October 18 - 21st- North Goa
Over the last few days I have been relaxing and enjoying Goa, the food and beaches. Toni is in Bangkok getting her Chinese visa and i'm sharing a room with Leena (a german girl i met in Goa). Today i left everyone and spent the day alone on the beach, it was great. I decided that i really enjoy my own company. It could be because your never alone on the tours, you are constantly surrounded by people day and night. Its almost impossible to get time to yourself or time to do things like update you blog :) the only way to find time to do these things while on tour is to not go somewhere or do something. Which is why i have only just updated this blog.
Goa is very different to the rest of India its very western influenced due to the high number of tourists. Luckily this means we don't have to cover up here, which is amazing because its 40C and the humidity has been unbearable. Goa is definitely the hottest part of India. Goa is designed for the tourists, there are many different beach towns to see.

October 22nd- North Goa
We visited a Spice plantation today, it wasn't what i expected. We walked around the plantation where all the different plants, trees etc grew while a guide talked about ten of them. Then there was free lunch (made with their spices/vegetables etc). They also gave us some Feni which is local Goan spirit, it was horrible! The spice plantation was very scenic with a huge lake, rope bridge and tropical looking huts. However I think I expected more from the prices they charged. From the plantation we went onto Arambol beach which has a salt water lake that runs near the sea. Once we got there we decided not to go in the lake as a local indian boy was throwing up in it, because he had drank too much. For indian people Goa has a massive party atmosphere, they don't seem to notice how beautiful it is which is a shame. Arambol beach is nicer than Anjuna Beach where i'm staying, but Anjuna is more for relaxing than partying.

Posted by nickyireland 08:21 Archived in India

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